The Pastor’s Toolbox: Prayer

Prayer: Our Lifeblood and Real Power

“He that is more frequent in his pulpit his people than he is in his closet for his people is but a sorry watchmen.” (John Owen)

We all know that our Apostolic calling involves a devotion to both the ministry of the word and prayer (Acts 6:4). My guess is that we all have a consistent public ministry of prayer. After all, it’s unlikely that any church would keep a pastor who is unwilling to pray with and before others. It is at this point that we will continue on in this series:

“But what about in our private lives? Are we men of prayer then? That’s the acid test. The public occasions can be mere performance. The private times demonstrate whether we are men of spiritual integrity.

Prayer is an acknowledgement that we are needy individuals. It also demonstrates to us our personal relationship with our Lord. And it reflects our genuine love and concern for our flock as we labor in prayer for their spiritual good.

As a young pastor I once asked an aging pastor about his readily spiritual life. He explained to me that he arose at 4:00 every morning to begin his two-hour daily, private prayer life. He spent the first hour each day acknowledging the Lord’s wonderful attributes and His goodness. Then he moved into requests for the remaining hour. He said that those two hours were the most important of his daily functions.

There was no doubt that this man’s personal godliness came as a direct result of his daily communion with the Lord. Just as Spurgeon spoke of John Bunyan when he said that if you “pricked him, his blood flowed Bibline,” so if you were to prick that faithful, aged pastor, he would flow grace, gentleness, and holiness.

Do we want deep spiritual lifeblood and power? It starts with a personal relationship with our God. We know Him through His eternal Word, but we communicate with His through prayer.

We can fake a spiritual life by public prayer, but the One who knows us best cannot be fooled. God can give us real power in our ministry, or He can withhold His grace as we fail to develop that deeply needed personal relationship with Him.”

What are some ways that a pastor may better protect his personal prayer life? 

Source:  “Practical Wisdom For Pastors” by Curtis C. Thomas.

Gary Chaffins, is co-pastor at The Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, Ohio. He has a beautiful wife, two rotten kids, a big-white dog, and carries a large NASB.

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